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Theresa May Set to Announce Tuition Fee Review

Posted by Richard Ward in , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Prime minister Theresa May is set to formally announce a year-long independent review of student finance today, as she admits students in England face one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world.

Mrs May will warn the system has failed to deliver sufficient price competition and will argue against outdated attitudes that favour university degrees over technical education.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has previously indicated that the government wanted to see more variety in the level of fees and the structure of degrees. This includes whether some courses could be taught within two years instead of three.

The independent review will also investigate ways to reduce the cost of a degree, such as cutting interest rates on loans from their current level of 6.1% and possibly reintroducing grants for disadvantaged students.

Meanwhile, university staff are calling for a radical overhaul of the tuition fee system, with leader of the UCU lecturers' union saying the review must be more than just tinkering at the edges. However, the Russell Group of leading universities has warned against changes to fees that could place a limit on the number of places available. In particular, the group of leading universities wants to see a funding models that provides universities with a predictable and sustainable income.

A study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies calculated that students in England face more than £5,000 in interest charges before they have even left university, helping to push up total debt upon graduation to over £50,000.